Smoking may increase risk of breast cancer

Mar 10, 2011

Female smokers may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Young female smokers may be at risk for developing breast cancer later in life, according to a recent study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers used information collected from the Nurse's Health Study to find women who either smoked or were exposed to second-hand smoke. The results included medical information for 111,140 female smokers from 1976 to 2000 and 36,017 women who were frequently in the presence of cigarette smoke from 1982 to 2006, according to the journal.

Out of the group, 8,772 women developed breast cancer. Researchers say they found a positive correlation between the cancer development and younger age of smoking initiation, higher number of packs smoked per day over time, higher quantities of current or past smoking and smoking for a longer number of years.

Though there were hints that post-menopausal smoking may not fit the model of a positive relationship between smoking and breast cancer risk, younger smokers may face a greater possibility of developing the life-threatening disease. "Premenopausal smoking was associated with a slightly higher incidence of [breast cancer], especially smoking before first birth," the authors said.

In addition to increasing breast cancer risk, smoking has been related to other serious illnesses and can result in being charged higher life insurance premiums.  

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